Positivity Demystified

A lot of people have a misconception about what positivity means.

There is one group that says that positivity is a denial of reality. That it’s not being realistic. They’re in denial of reality because they’re not looking at all the facts and they’re not looking at things realistically. When things are down and terrible they’re not accepting circumstances as they are. They’re pretending that everything is okay when it’s certainly not.

Then you have the negative group. They are focused on how terrible circumstances are. This group is just as much out of alignment with reality, but it’s the one that proclaims more than anything that it’s “just being realistic.”

Your perceptions are a filter for reality

There’s a common misconception about the way positive and negative mindsets are viewed. Most people tend to think that their positive or negative attitude is just them perceiving the way reality is. It’s the way they see things. In other words, whatever your circumstances are, you are perceiving it as good or bad.

This is absolutely true; your perceptions are your filter for the world. It isn’t that you’re simply perceiving reality as it is though. Your underlying beliefs about reality that are causing you to interpret things in a negative or positive way. You may think because you see the world a certain way, that’s the way the world is. But that’s just your mental map, it’s not necessarily the terrain itself.

In other words, your perception or how you believe reality to be is actually your response. Reality itself is neither good nor bad, right or wrong, righteous or evil.

It’s our perception, judgment and beliefs that cause us to see things the way we do.

Accepting what is

When we realize that the way we perceive reality, is a personal opinion, we can learn to accept it the way it is. With this acceptance we’re no longer struggling against it. Sure, we can always respond, but we don’t try to deny our current situation.

If the nature of our reality is determined by our response, then it just becomes common sense to respond in a positive way. That doesn’t mean we deny the way we currently see things. We accept it as it is, then we respond. We accept what is because it’s silly to struggle against what already is. It’s already here, why try to struggle against it? Sure, we can intend something different. Life naturally become a lot easily when we accept the present moment.

Realizing that positivity is a response, has been a big step for me in my personal growth. Before, I would always looked at people with a positive or negative mindset as being in denial. Those with a positive outlook would commonly say they were just “looking on the bright side.” Those with a negative mindset claimed they were just “accepting the truth.”

Choosing win/win

The fact of the matter is, we don’t have to choose one or the other. We can choose a win/win situation. We can accept the truth, the current state of things and choose to look on the bright side, having a positive response.

Are you choosing lose/lose or win/lose agreements in your life? Perhaps you don’t realize that you’re choosing them because you think that’s the only option. I think most often in these cases there’s some overlooked variable that we haven’t yet discovered. My challenge to you is, don’t accept second best. Choose not to make an agreement with yourself where you feel one part of you wins and the other is let down. Choose not to settle until you can find a win/win answer, or don’t settle at all.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Robert @ reason4smile March 30, 2008 at 9:20 am

Hi Jonathan, your message on win/win is I find very important, we can integrate the good and bad of ourselves. When we befriend our weaker self, we will strengthen them!

Thanks for the great post,
Robert

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Evelyn March 30, 2008 at 11:09 am

Hi Jonathan, I like the tip on what-is and choosing a positive response. Sometimes, it is hard to accept things for what it is right now; our minds gravitate towards the past or fear of what lies ahead. We need to learn to see the nature of things in their current state, and move on with a more positive attitude.

Thanks for sharing,
Evelyn

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James March 30, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Great essay. It is intriguing to me that some of positivity and positive psych has its roots in transcendantalism and early American metaphysics. As well, cognitive-behavioral therapies have been strongly influenced by positivity.

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Shilpan | successsoul.com March 30, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Hi Jonathan,

Great blog. I believe that reality is total sum of stereotype that we cumulate over the time + belief.

Experience + Belief = Reality.

For positivity, one needs to develop inner conscious to balance experience and his/her own belief system towards positivity.

Shilpan

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Jon Meade March 31, 2008 at 12:31 am

YOU HAVE MY NAME

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Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul March 31, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Hi Jonathan,

One of my favorite sayings is: “Whatever you believe is true.” We truly are the powerful creators of our “reality.”

Blessings,
Andrea

Reply

Jonathan March 31, 2008 at 6:22 pm

@ Robert: Definitely, we need to recognize our weaknesses as well as our strengths.

@ Evelyn: Accepting what is, is essentially to finding peace in our lives. It doesn’t mean we don’t respond, we just stop reacting.

@ Shilpan: Great comments! I like the way you say experience + belief = reality. I think you’ve cracked the code.

@ Jon Meade: Oops, I’ll change that right away sir.

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Clay Collins | The Growing Life April 1, 2008 at 9:40 am

More good insights. Thanks Jonathan.

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Bert Meert December 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Hi Jonathan,

Great insights, thank you for sharing!

I believe that positivity is the result of applied focus over a longer period of time. I actually wrote an article about this a while ago on my blog. If you’re interested, look for the article called ‘The Thoughts of The Optimist’ on bertmeert.com

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ben November 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Ive recently stumbled upon this concept of positivity. I used to think it was for those living in a dream world. until i realized that being anything but positive yields little benefit, if any. furthermore, if u look at the world as a single organism, u begin to see the importance of maintaining a positive mentality on an individual level, so the entire world may be healed. we are all just cells creating the consciousness of a larger cell (earth(. to heal the world we need only heal ourselves…

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